Americans Aren't Buying More Mercedes-Benz Vehicles, but Mercedes-AMG? That's Another Story

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

GMC has its Denali sub-brand, and Buick now has its Avenir, but German premium marques aren’t in need of added luxury. Extra horsepower and speed earns that inflated sticker price.

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand isn’t the small stable of tuned performance cars it once was. The automaker’s made it painfully clear it wants to AMG all the things, with the brand’s large crop of SUVs (and SUV “coupes”) serving as the latest canvas for AMG’s brushstrokes. A lineup that began the current year with 34 models will likely celebrate New Year’s Eve with 42.

The folks at Mercedes-Benz USA are already reaping the reward.

That’s because, while U.S. buyers aren’t poised to buy more Mercedes-Benz models than they did last year (barring a boffo December), they’re definitely likely to pick up more Mercedes-AMG models.

Through the end of November, Mercedes-Benz sold 332,043 luxury vehicles in the United States, some 30,116 of which carried the AMG badge, Automotive News reports. Some quick math tells us AMG’s share amounts to 9.97 percent of the company’s U.S. volume. Let’s round that up to an even 10 percent.

AMG’s growth over the past few years is nothing short of impressive. In 2015, AMG sales made up 5 percent of Mercedes-Benz USA’s volume. Last year, its share rose to 6.8 percent. Like Denali and Avenir, the goal with AMG — besides added prestige and good PR — is the sale of more higher-margin vehicles to keep the company’s accountants happy. That’s a solid game plan in a contracting market.

Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz sales have dropped 2 percent.

Mercedes-AMG head Tobias Moers credits a broad lineup of lower-end 43 series models for the sub-brand’s American success. He added, however, that mid-pack “63” models have also seen a sales increase.

There’s big changes in store for 2018, as Mercedes-AMG is expected to release its 53 series — a departure for the sub-brand, in that the new crop utilizes electrification for added performance and fuel economy. AMG 53 models adopt a new 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six married to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It’s part of a long-term plan to gradually make the sub-brand “more and more electric,” something promised by Daimler R&D head Ola Källenius earlier this year.

[Image: Daimler AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sigivald Sigivald on Dec 18, 2017

    Where's my Sprinter or Metris AMG?!

  • Cbrworm Cbrworm on Dec 19, 2017

    The AMG branding is more than just a badge or label. Typically it includes nicer wheels, more aggressive body molding, better brakes, and stiffer suspension. So, yes, you are paying more for a trim line, but there is more value to it than just the label. It's like getting a Park Avenue Ultra with the FE3 suspension (I'm making these up)

  • Urlik GDI engines emit 5 to 10 times the particulate matter that PFI engines emit. The particles are not just carbon either.
  • Pgb65773699 I enjoyed it, it is what you expect , funny
  • Redapple2 Brandee. Another Stanford grad. Bankman Fried. The blood test girl. Mary Barra.
  • Redapple2 CruiseSTUPID, battery problems, software, killing carplay and AM. Why is this so hard.
  • Alan Like all testing and analysis work you need a good set of requirements. If you don't you'll find or end up with gaps.
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